With the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) issuing warnings for a two-day cold snap that is expected to bring heavy downpours and possibly bouts of sporadic hail storms, people in Istanbul and its vicinity have started to brace against adverse weather and protect their belongings from serious damage.
Last week's sudden and unexpected showers that were accompanied by walnut-sized hail has left many with battered cars, filing insurance claims to cover the damage. Weather and insurance experts are warning citizens to take precautions and to avoid unpleasant surprises and astronomical bills.
When it comes to freak weather and hail, here's what the experts recommend to protect your car from damage:
BEFORE A HAILSTORM
Get weather alerts
Prevention is always better than a cure. Try to sign up for a weather service's push notifications and make a habit of checking the weather every day before you leave your house.
Check-in with your insurance company
A hailstorm can cause serious damage to your car, and if you don't have all-encompassing insurance or it doesn't cover much, your wallet will likely suffer later too. Read your car insurance policy well and make sure there is a clause that specifically covers expenses caused by fire or weather and hence hail.
Add some cushiony protection
Not long after such announcements, it's normal to see people rushing to cover their cars in cardboard, blankets or carpets in effort to shield their cars from precipitation and falling debris. But is that the correct thing to do?
Experts say it would be smart to keep items such as blankets, tarps or special covers in your vehicle to take out and use in the event that you get caught in a storm. If you are taking precautions ahead, it's best to first lay items such as cardboard or insulation material you can purchase from construction and hardware stores and then lay more padded and softer materials such as blankets or comforters on top. Investing in a good quality and weatherproof car cover will be a move you won't regret.
Don't put rocks on your car
To make sure this makeshift layer of protection stays, most people will try to weigh down these materials by laying heavy items such as rocks on top. Experts say this is a highly dangerous and a selfish choice as such heavy and unstable materials may take off in the bustling wind and either hit someone or greatly damage someone else's car. The best and safest way to ensure your blankets or cardboard don't fly away is to tie it down.
If you only have material to cover the roof of the car, jamming it in between the windows could also be an option.
Find covered parking
Although these are great temporary solutions, your safest bet will still be to seek shelter and choose indoor parking. Before such weather warnings, people should make sure they park their cars indoors or in garages or leave their vehicles in relatively protected places such as narrower alleys, especially if indoor or underground parking is not an option in the area.
DURING A HAILSTORM
Seek proper shelter
If you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a hailstorm and you are out in the open, try to find places where you can shield yourself from incoming ice. Backstreets or places with overhead tents are a good option but steer clear of underneath trees. In the event of a storm, if lightning strikes the tree, branches may fall onto the car, causing severe damage.
Get creative with what you've got
If you are on the road, experts say you'll want to pull over and try to protect your car as best as you can. Take out the cover or thick blankets you keep in your boot or use your floor mats. You should protect your windshield as a priority, even if it means the rest of your car ends up looking like a golf ball.
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